Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People (Bookring)

Registered by trevor4551 of Caloundra, Queensland Australia on 9/3/2005
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Saturday, September 03, 2005
"I did not have sex with that woman." Few will forget former President Bill Clinton's infamous words and the impeachment that followed, nor the eventual outings of infidelities by powerful political figures like Jesse Jackson, Newt Gingrich, and Gary Hart. Politicians aren't alone; actors, rock stars, sports figures, and other celebrities caught in the act often find their star tarnished as a result. Recently actress Meg Ryan lost her America's sweetheart status when her affair with fellow-actor Russell Crowe was announced to the world. And let's not forget "the average Joe." Several "regular" people felt the sting of public disapproval when they agreed to air their private transgressions publicly on the wildly successful television series Temptation Island.
But the question is, "why?" If infidelity is so popular among the populace, why is it still stigmatized? Why are the perpetrators often vilified? If "everyone's doing it," why are impeachments made and careers and lives ruined when sexual wanderings are publicly exposed? And if everyone knows what can happen, why do they stray from their monogamous relationships in the first place?

The answers to these and other questions can be found in the book, The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People by husband and wife co-authors David P. Barash, Ph.D. and Judith Eve Lipton, M.D., in which they argue that despite the public's shock and surprise surrounding these infidelities, cheating on one's spouse is the rule; not the exception.

In this alluring book, Barash, a zoologist and psychology professor, and Lipton, a psychiatrist, contend that the unfaithful behavior displayed by so many in our culture is natural and that, in truth, the unnatural behavior is the attempted practice of monogamy. They maintain "there is no evidence, either from biology, primatology, or anthropology, that monogamy is somehow "natural" or "normal" for human beings. There is by contrast, abundant evidence that people have long been prone to have multiple sexual partners."

The Myth of Monogamy cites numerous biological, psychological, and sociological studies on humans and animals to prove that males and females are not naturally monogamous in any society, be it human, animal, or insect, and that women as well as men are biologically predisposed to cheat on their mates. In it, Barash and Lipton effectively show that from fleas to birds to monkeys to human beings, all manner of wildlife engage in the practice of EPCs or extra-pair copulations for a variety of reasons, and that EPCs are not the exclusive domain of the male animal. Females too can be counted upon to go looking for a more powerful mate, if they deem their own to be less so (lending a possible explanation for why Clinton, Jackson, and their ilk are successful in finding willing partners).

Furthermore, using the same DNA technology useful for identifying unknown soldiers or freeing the falsely convicted, biologists have discovered that even animals long thought to be monogamous are far from it:

"When we examine the genes of baby birds, even those species long thought to be absolute paragons of monogamous fidelity, we find that 10, 20, sometimes 30 percent of the offspring are not genetically connected to the socially identified father . . . But only now, with the accumulation of literally dozens of research studies using DNA data, do we know for sure: Females, even females in species long thought to be sexually faithful, often are not."

Armed with this new DNA evidence, scientists have also been able to explain:

Why animals cheat,
Why the myth of monogamy was created,
How men and women were sucked into the monogamy hoax,
How big a role procreation plays in the desire to have several sexual partners,
Who stands to gain the most by perpetuating the myth of monogamy.
Does this mean that the faithfully monogamous segment of the population can be classified as freaks? Not at all, declare Barash and Lipton who, despite their findings, still respect and support the monogamous love union. In their estimation: "The perfect fit of a good monogamous marriage is made, not born. And despite the fact that much of our biology seems to tug in the opposite direction, such marriages can in fact be made. It is an everyday miracle."

Sure to inspire you to question your own ideas about sex and fidelity, The Myth of Monogamy promises to be of interest to anyone who is even the least bit curious about human sexuality-in other words, just about everyone!

Journal Entry 2 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, November 22, 2006
(modified, from bookcrosser LaurieS)

What is a bookring and how do I get in on it?
A bookring begins when a bookcrosser decides to send a book on a controlled journey. A list of interested readers is set up and the book passes from one reader who reads it and then sends it along to the person next in line. Eventually the book ends up back in the hands of the original owner which, for this book, will be me, gaysocialworker. Readers can join this bookring until the closing date, listed above. Just private message (PM) me and let me know where you are located--city, state, country--and if you are able to ship internationally. Be sure to let me know if you would like to be placed lower down on the list.

What should I do when I receive the book?
Log on to bookcrossing and type up a journal entry so I know it reached you okay. Then private message (PM) the next person in line to get their mailing address so there will be no waiting once you finish the book, if they do not respond within 10 days PM the next reader in line (and me too so I know they are no longer interested). Please read the book within 30 days and when complete add another journal entry with your thoughts about the book. Tell me the truth! Was it the best thing you ever read or a complete and utter waste of time? I love to talk books, the good, the bad and even the ugly (ugly can sometimes be lots of fun to dissect), you can write one sentence or a hundred. When you finish send the book along to the next reader in line. Please mail the book via Media Mail to save on postage in the US or via the slow boat to China if sending overseas.

What if I’m the last in line?
PM me! I would like to have the book back at the end of the bookring.

Help! I’m too swamped with book commitments and it is almost my turn!
If you find yourself in this situation PM me and I will bump you down a few notches on the list (if possible). Believe me, I understand!


Journal Entry 3 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The List:

Please make a journal entry upon receiving the book. Then read, journal your comments, and mail to the next bookcrosser within 30 days. Enjoy!

trojanpotato in California
Lorelei03 in New York
Caridad in Florida
azuki in Florida*
BooksnBeer in Virginia*
toyjoy in Singapore
sudokugirl in Bosnia*
prilade in Bulgaria*
okyrhoe in Greece*
Xanthe-pup in United Kingdom*
Jaycee1972 in United Kingdom
>>>>>return to gaysocialworker in Texas

Last updated, 11/22/06

Journal Entry 4 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Thursday, December 14, 2006
Sending to first stop, trojanpotato in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 5 by trojanpotato from San Diego, California USA on Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I was finally able to pick this up! I think the package arrived on Christmas, but since I asked for it to be sent to me at school, I wasn't there to get it. Today was the first day when package people were available to help me out. Thank goodness, or I would have had nothing to read at work today. It's great so far!

Journal Entry 6 by trojanpotato from San Diego, California USA on Saturday, January 20, 2007
This book was interesting, but repetitive. Fortunately, it wasn't very long. It got much more involving after the authors left off talking about birds and started talking about humans.

Sent to lorelei03 at 3pm PST on 19 January 2007 by cheap mail.

Journal Entry 7 by Lorelei03 from Flushing, New York USA on Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Rcvd in the post - I have one (and a half!)books in front of this one so I'll start reading fast now! Thanks gaysocialworker!

Journal Entry 8 by Caridad from Miami, Florida USA on Monday, April 09, 2007
Received today. A have a few books ahead of it, but will it get moving soon. Thanks, GSW.

Journal Entry 9 by Caridad from Miami, Florida USA on Thursday, May 24, 2007
I have had a family emergency. Contacted by gsw aabout the delay. He has been quite understanding. I will finish it soon and pass it on to the next BXer.

Journal Entry 10 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Sunday, July 15, 2007
Caridad is still taking care of family business, but dropped me an update by mail. I was quite amused by the postcard from Fire Island, so thought I'd share the image.

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